Right now I am reading The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. So far it’s very good. What follows is a synopsis of the first part of the book. A little girl named Lyra lives at Jordan College—one of the colleges at Oxford College—and her uncle, Lord Asriel, comes to the college to give a presentation about what he discovered on his journey north to Lapland. While there he took some photos of the northern lights using a new technology (the book takes place in about 1908 by my estimation). The photograph shows what appears to be the outline of a city in the sky.
Also during these first pages, it was mentioned that the Papacy was discontinued; instead, a hodgepodge of councils and committees have sprung up in its place, the most important of which are the Oblation Board and the Consistorial Court. The master of Jordan has to keep a balance between the two groups. In years past there were two renegade theologians that postulated that there are many tangible worlds like ours that we can see and experience, in addition to the spiritual and non-visible worlds of heaven and hell. The church, however, does not support this theory, believing only in one visible world: the one in which we live. Jordan funded Lord Asriel’s expedition, and he found proof of another visible world. Therefore, to avoid the holy church coming down on him for letting his college be a haven for heresy, the master and the librarian conspired to murder Lord Asriel, but were unsuccessful (boo, a bad librarian as a character!). Many humans in the book have what are called “daemons,” which remind me of fairies and can take different animal forms. What has become of Lyra’s parents, I don’t know. It has been mentioned that she has a very important part to play in what will ensue from the discovery of this new world.
The book is fast paced—as much children’s literature is—and so far, I’m riveted! This is one of those books that I’m sure appeals to as many adults as it does to young adults and children, and it is on the favorites lists of many readers. I’m also a particular fan of the cover of the copy I have, which is the cover pictured above; it is one of my favorite covers of any book. Watch for information on the artist to appear here soon.